CD4+ T lymphocytes are divided in Th1 cells producing IFN gamma and Th2 cells that synthetize IL-4. This paper describes signaling pathways activated following T cell receptor (TCR) engagement and emphasizes differences that can account for differential cytokine production. This paper focuses on a new signaling pathway involved in IL-4 synthesis. This pathway couples the TCR to PKC that controls a calcium entry through dihydropyridine sensitive calcium channels. The calcium response is sufficient to initiate IL-4 gene transcription. Differing from that of IL-4, IFN gamma gene expression always requires MAP-kinase activation in addition to a calcium signal.